Valve has finally consented to adding a simple feature allowing users to permanently remove games from their library, according to a report from Kotaku. And while many are asking why anybody would want such a feature, others are solemnly nodding their heads and writing a little list of those who won’t be missed.
Sure, at first glance, it might seem a little silly. Steam already allows users to place games they don’t want in a hidden folder so that they don’t have to see them. But whether we want to admit it or not, Steam has been around an awfully long time; since 2003, in fact. And not only can a virtual shelf get a little weighted in that time, people can change a lot in 12 years. A fair number of Steam users weren’t even legally of age to work when they started their accounts; many are starting to realize that there’s nothing actually preventing employers from finding and examining their profile unless they set it to completely private. It’s entirely possible that players might prefer to leave no trace of the many hours they’ve sunk into, for example, Manhunt and Manhunt 2, considered by some to be the most violent video games ever made and blamed by some media sources for mass shootings – or even more controversial titles.
For others, it’s simply a matter of bloat. In a day and age of bundle purchases, “free bonuses,” masses of DLC, and incredibly cheap indie games, libraries can rapidly become bloated with titles; many of which are never even finished. Or made remotely-playable, for that matter. I have at least one game in my library that never went far beyond the gameplay level of Asteroids and was considerably less enjoyable; I bought it because it cost me 10 cents. There’s no real incentive for me to keep that around, hidden or otherwise.
So, that all having been said, how does one actually remove a game permanently?
According to IGN, the process is actually quite simple; go to Help – Steam Support – Games, Software, etc., select the game that you want to remove and click “I want to permanently remove this game from my account.” Steam will confirm that you’re sure, and with that, the game will be gone.
Valve does recommend uninstalling the game first; for some reason, they decided not to make uninstalling the game a part of the removal process, and it will hang around on your PC until you remove it manually.
Of course, there are some caveats. As PC Gamer notes, you cannot remove single games if they were part of a bundle unlocked with one key; you have to remove the entire bundle. The option to hide these games individually still exists, but the actual removal process apparently works by removing the Steam Key itself from your library. In the case of bundles where a separate key was provided for each item – usually the case with the popular Humble Bundle offerings – you’ll still be able to remove any title individually.
In the long run, if you don’t want to use the new option to remove games permanently, you don’t have to, but having options is always better than not having them, especially with new controversies popping up every day; there are a few titles in my library I’d rather not have there due to ideological disagreements with the developer years after their release. I don’t want to show support for them; now I don’t have to.
One way or another I suspect that this feature is going to see a lot more use than people think. Good for Valve for adding it to Steam.
[Image via Valve/Steam]